Hannibal – In normal December graduation fashion, cold winds and snow flurries accompanied the momentous occasion, but could not dampen the spirits of the 112 graduates of Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG). The 2009 HLG Winter Commencement Ceremony was held Dec. 19 in the Mabee Sports Complex.
Woodrow W. Burt, president of Hannibal-LaGrange College, stood and addressed the crowd. “For the graduates of the class of 2009, this day marks the achievement of goals set long ago, and met through diligent study and personal sacrifice. For the family and friends of graduates, this day marks the milestone in your life as well as that of these graduates, and it marks the fulfillment of dreams shared and fostered through the years.”
Burt also acknowledged the graduates, special guests, trustees, and introduced the keynote speaker, Michael Arrington.
Arrington, of Morristown, Tenn., received his bachelor of science in history, master of arts in history, and Ph.D. in history from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He has been an educator for almost 40 years serving as a junior high teacher, college professor, vice president for academic affairs, dean of arts and sciences, director of summer sessions, and director of academic skills development. He has served as executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities since 2008.
“I feel a very close kinship with the outstanding faculty, administration, trustees, students, and staff here at HLG,” said Arrington. “Whenever I meet someone from HLG there is an immediate bonding and I attribute that to our common call from God.”
Arrington went on to point out the significance of a college education in today’s society, and how the students should be proud of their accomplishments. Graduating from college with a degree can provide an “abundant life” financially that would most likely not be attained otherwise. “Suffice it to say college degrees are good financial investments,” said Arrington. “Unfortunately too many people focus on college primarily in terms of its relationship to employment and to a higher lifetime income. While these are surely important factors for pursuing a college education, I don’t think they are the best reasons for going to college. College should be more than just a place that processes you into a higher wage bracket. It should add meaning and quality to your life.”
Arrington stressed to the graduates to use their Christian education to not only find a career they enjoy, but also as a means of service to others. “Your college degree will also endure as a testament to your commitment to quality, to your passion for truth, and to your desire to make a difference in this world,” continued Arrington. “It is my prayer that your life will be artful, amazing, and awesome. In other words, an abundant life spent serving God, the creator of our universe.”